How to Siphon Gas Without Dying

Classic garden hose gas siphoning; we’ve all seen it done and let’s face it when we’re honest with ourselves we think it’s pretty cool.  Generally our movie hero will look like a total badass as he cuts the ends off a hose with a bowie knife and then goes to town sucking gas out of some abandoned police car with little to no negative consequences.  I’m here to tell you what a dumb idea this is in any actual apocalyptic situation; so pay attention.

The Dangers of Drinking Gas

Let’s start our talk with the dangers of drinking gas.  In any situation where society has gone to shit the last thing you want to do is put yourself in need of medical attention unnecessarily.  The gasoline found in today’s cars contains several very dangerous chemicals including benzene and methane.  It doesn’t take much gas to induce basic gasoline poisoning, the symptoms of which include blindness, convulsions, throat swelling, and death.  These are not things we want happening when the zombie hoard is only a short moaning walk away so we here at ZP suggest you avoid drinking any fuel, really we suggest you avoid drinking anything that came out of a car but to each his own.

The Old Fashioned Way

In reality the garden hose siphoning system will work on some older cars and can be successful if you’re not too worried about the painful death mentioned above.  The physics of the idea are simple, liquid will always seek to maintain it’s own levels so if you insert a coiled hose into a tank full of gas and suck the tube will fill to the level of the tank.  When lowered the tube will continue to fill as the liquid tries to even out and the tank will eventually get close to emptying. In a desperate situation you can fall back on this method, in fact, if you really want to be prepared you can actually purchase a hand or battery operated pump and hose system for this purpose and go to town on every car without fear of gas poisoning.  The biggest problem with this old fashioned system is that newer cars have caught up with the times and most have anti-rollover valves that prevent gas siphoning and the process of removing the part is far more involved than the every-man’s car skills.

Punch Method

For those of us who don’t like the idea of blindness or who want to make sure they’re getting the most out of their illegal apocalyptic activities the best method for siphoning gas is the punch method.  The gas tank of a car is easy to find if you know what you’re looking for.  It will generally be right under the gas cap and be made of metal.  Be careful with some very new cars as they will have undercarriage protectors and will make the job a little more difficult but for most vehicles built before 2009 undercarriage protectors don’t stretch the full length of the vehicle and the tank should be easy to find.  Once you find it the method for removing the gas should be pretty self-explanatory.  Place a container under the tank, use a sharp object to puncture the tank, and wait for all the gas to drain out.  There is, however, one MAJOR concern we need to discuss before you go out and stop paying for gas forever.  Do not punch up into a metal gas tank with another metal object.  Using any kind of steel will create a spark and you’ll end up just as dead as you would with gas poisoning.  The solution to this problem is simple, brass or wood. A brass punch is actually used for this operation at most junkyards and can actually be purchased on the cheap.  As a soft metal, brass will not spark when it comes into contact with steel and is the safest way to get to any flammable liquid.  Wood can also be used if you can find a strong enough piece and sharpen it to a point.

Storing Gas

So you’ve got the gas now what?  Let’s start with the basics, nothing changes about the laws of science just because the world has ended so don’t be a dumbass about storing your excess fuel supply.  Gas should be stored away from any open flame in a closed and approved container.  They don’t make those gas cans red for their own amusement, it’s to warn the stupid of the world that there’s something dangerous in there.  If you choose to store your fuel in open buckets and the dumber of your survival group end up drinking it or using it for another purpose you’ve got no one to blame but yourself.  It’s reasonable to assume that there might be a shortage of government approved storage vessels after said government has collapsed so closed and marked buckets are a viable alternative but be sure to have a funnel on hand for getting the gas into your vehicles.

To make a long story short, the garden hose method will work but it has some serious drawbacks in the form of gas poisoning and car regulators that will limit the number of cars you can actually cannibalize for your purposes.  We here at ZP would suggest you add a brass punch to your survival bag and prepare to collect your gas directly from the underside of the car.  Not only will you be sure to get all the fuel available but you won’t have to worry about remembering not to swallow.   Once you’ve got your gas be sure to store it in a closed and marked container and for god sakes don’t put it near the camp fire.  The first time you steal fuel from another vehicle the process might seem difficult and the gas tank is going to be harder to puncture than you think but it won’t be long before you’re a master of the art and then you can enjoy post apocalyptic joy riding until your little heart is content.

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About Bex

Bex is a 23 year old graduate student and aspiring author. Blessed with insane curiosity and a wickedly fast internet connection she's spent an inordinate amount of time researching how to survive when the world collapses.